Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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My Obsession with Traditional Cookware

Eating healthy is important and Cooking food the right way is equally important. There are umpteen ways to cook food and a variety of cookware is being used to cook food all over the world.

These days I am fascinated and have been craving for all Traditional and Natural products like Earthen Cookware and Handloom Sarees.

A decade ago I came across articles that advised against using Aluminium cookware . Aluminium reacts with acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus foods and tamarindwhich makes the food toxic. I began replacing the ones I had with Stainless steel ones. I got a Stainless steel pressure cooker, a Kadai and other Stainless steel cooking pots for curries.

I recently came across this informative article which doubled my obsession for traditional cookware.

http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/artisinal-earthenware/article19133289.ece?utm_content=buffer3e782&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Cookware  made from terracotta, soapstone and cast iron are on my mind these days.

Have been exploring these varieties on the Internet, the pros and cons of each one of them, the recipes that are best cooked with each type of vessel , the sources for procuring these, cleaning/handling and maintenance of these pieces and finally the price of these beautiful pieces.

Got some good reviews from my sis too who has got hold of a terracotta utensil and has been raving about how yummy her dals turn out each time. Micro nutrients from the clay make the dish tasty and nutritious.

I have some good memories of my Grandma cooking delicious food in earthenware. Grandma is no more. Hope to interview some of the other women in Grandma’s village , who continue to cook using earthenware , during my next visit :).

I had stopped using Non-stick ware and was looking for other types of cookware. A year ago I tossed out my non stick pan which I used for making Dosas and bought a cast iron tava (pan) . I also bought a small appam pan which I now use to prepare tadka. Tossed out the Aluminium one I had that I used for preparing Tadka. Bought these online from peacockcolours.com.

Love these two babies . Especially because of the non stick kind of coating. They are heavier compared to other materials. Got to be careful so as not to drop them. They might break and break your floor too :).

I have just ordered a cast iron skillet and a cast iron Kadai online. Looking forward to their arrival 🙂 Ordered them from Thevillagefair.

Some six years ago I began replacing my Stainless steel utensils too as I read that Lead and chromium from stainless steel leach into the food. I did some research and liked ceramic-ware and bought two curry pots. Quite easy to clean but the thin layer of ceramic cannot withstand a steel spoon and hard scrubbing. Ceramic-ware also has traces of Lead and cadmium .

My recent obsession with Earthenware took me a Farmer’s market at Saptaparni , Banjara hills , last Sunday. Bought black earthenware . Bought this after reading and watching YouTube videos on how to Season and cook in these type of utensils.  Here is my latest acquisition –

Will review once I start using it 🙂 .

I also have a copper water jug which I plan to use . Got this as a gift from my Organisation. It was lying in a corner in our Pantry and I retrieved it today 🙂  Indians have long since believed that drinking water stored in a copper container is very good for the health. More on this later.

Till then … enjoy healthy cooking …

 


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Came across this article where a 67 year old woman from UK has successfully tamed Multiple Myeloma.

Dieneke Ferguson, the founder and CEO of https://www.hiddenartshop.co.uk learnt about Curcumin through Margaret’s Blog .

I was very excited when I read that Dieneke Ferguson too , just like me , was also inspired by Margaret’s Blog and started using Curcumin.

Here is the whole story :

How our CEO Dieneke Ferguson beat her incurable cancer through curcumin

Hopefully this news will inspire many others to believe that there is hope and not to give up.

 

 

 

 


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Treadmill Test : My experience

TMT-peak-ex-small

Went to the Hospital, along with Hubby,  for a Health check up last week. The package included Cardiac tests like ECG, 2D-Echo and Treadmill Test (TMT), Ultrasound scan of the Abdomen, Lipid profile, Bone Mass Density , Thyroid , Hepatitis B and C , Chem 20 etc.

After giving blood samples , we went for the Cardiac tests. ECG was taken and 2D-Echo was also done. I was not interested in doing the TMT because I was sure that I will fail the test. I am not a fan of any kind of exercise . Am too lazy to do any form of exercise and always find some excuse to skip doing any exercise. Whenever there is a need to walk real fast ,I feel some pain in the center of my chest. I always had this feeling that I have a weak heart, a heart that is unable to pump fast and hence I have this pain.

While I was getting up after the 2D-echo was completed , the technician tells me to go for the TMT. I looked at her and asked ‘should I go?’. She must have thought I am crazy. She nodded, I said Ok and walked out .

I had earlier read that TMT is recommended only after an ECG and 2D Echo are done to guage the condition of the heart. So, when the Technician recommended to go for the TMT without telling me about any hesitation or precaution , I assumed that things are normal. I came out and told hubby that I will do the TMT.

I went inside the TMT room and the Technician there quickly attached several probes all over my chest . These wires were connected to a flat rectangular device that was tightly strapped around my upper waist. Several wires from this device were connected to a Monitor next to the Tread Mill. A BP checking apparatus was strapped on my upper arm.

The Technician asked me if I have any pain in the knees. I shook my head and she then told me that the test will last approximately 8 minutes. 3 minutes at a slow speed, the next 3 minutes at a higher speed and the TreadMill would be slightly inclined and the last 2 minutes the speed would be further increased and further inclined. She also told me to tell her if I experienced any pain.

I start walking and felt quite comfortable for 6 minutes. I was ready for the last two minutes and was getting prepared to tell her to stop if required. I stopped looking at the time on the monitor and continued to walk. I did not experience any pain and I completed the 2 minutes too. The Treadmill was stopped abruptly and I was told to sit down on the chair next to the TreadMill. I did not like the way the TreadMill was stopped suddenly.I had always read that it is not correct to abruptly stop running or jogging and one has to gradually reduce the speed and then stop.

The moment I sat down I noticed that my heart was racing. Felt as though it would burst or it may stop. All the probes were still connected and the Technician was watching the monitor. I was scared and was angry with myself for going ahead with the test. What if I had a Heart attack now. Funny thing was that I didn’t feel my heart beating this fast while doing the last 2 minutes. It was only when I sat down, that the beating could be felt.

I was sitting and telling my heart to slow down …please slow down …. please be good and calm down …. I started taking long breaths hoping the heart will slow down quickly . Oh My God those three minutes of my heart racing was a scary experience.

Finally took a long breath and was able to smile. All the while I was telling the Technician that I had never exercised this hard.

I successfully completed the test and all the parameters were normal. Yayyy , I did it !! 🙂

i__m_so_happy___by_satinchappals-d4z2qqz

So glad I don’t have to worry about my Heart any more. But I need to get back to my walking routine which I had stopped.

My conclusion : One can go ahead with the Treadmill Test without any hesitation as the Technician would know whether the person should go ahead or not. But it is advisable to have a Cardiologist around during the process.

Had read that there is an alternative method to stimulate the heart by injecting a medication, The patient would be in a resting state while the heart beat would increase and the parameters would then be monitored.  This method is used for those who are unable to walk on the Treadmill for various reasons.

 


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‘Technically cured’ of Multiple Myeloma

I was due for a Bone Marrow Test and it was more than 6 months since I got the last one done. Was busy with several activities  and the test got delayed by one month.When I called my Oncologist for an appointment , he suggested that I also get a General Health Check up done along with the Bone Marrow Test. Been a while since I went for a Health check up.
The package consisted of Cardiac tests, ultra sound of the abdomen, Chem 20 , Urine , Thyroid , Lipid profile ,Bone Mass Density ,  Hepatitis B and C etc

The tests along with the Bone Marrow Test were done last week and the results were out today.

Went directly to the Hospital after work. My Oncologist gave an appointment at 4.30pm. Hubby was already at the Hospital and had picked up all the reports. I quickly opened the Bone Marrow Test report and scanned through the report looking for something like ‘M- spike not seen’ or ‘M-Spike negative’ , but I see ‘Impression:Consistent with Normal marrow’. I deduce that all is Normal and we rush to meet my Oncologist , as it was 4.35pm. I quickly thanked the Almighty.

My Oncologist goes through all the reports and finally says ‘ Meet me after One year’ .

I stare at him as if I wanted him to repeat those precious words again. He then says ‘Its been 5 years since you had the SCT, so Technically you are cured’ .

Woww , these were the words that I was longing to hear.

All the other Reports too were normal except for Osteopoenia.

On our way back hubby was showing me some remedies for Osteopoenia and Strength training is one of them.

Time to do something about this.

Today is one of the most happiest days in my life 🙂

I also sent pics of the Reports to my Ayurvedic Doctor, who was also very eager to know the results. He is very happy too. I would not be in this condition without his medication and treatment.

Thanks to Mother Nature for healing me through Ayurveda.

Feel like sharing my happiness with all my well wishers 🙂

Incidentally, today I also received a Promotion/Elevation at work. It was tough as only 30% of the eligible candidates got selected. The selection is based on the score in the appraisals and the performance in the Interview.

So glad I made it 🙂 .

I need to watch out and not get too stressed at work.Got to continue to follow a healthy diet too , along with exercise.

Love you Zindagi…..


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Treat Cancer – Yes, you can !

I had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma ( a form of Blood Cancer) Five and half years ago.

I have come across many articles on how to ‘Manage’ the condition.

Here is nice compilation that I received from a WhatsApp group .

I do believe and have been practicing most of what is recommended in this compilation and hence wanted to share.

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AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRY (‘TRY’, BEING THE KEY WORD) TO ELIMINATE CANCER, JOHNS HOPKINS IS FINALLY STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY .. 
Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins: 

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body.. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size. 

2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person’s lifetime. 

3. When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors. 

4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, but also to environmental, food and lifestyle factors. 

5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet to eat more adequately and healthy, 4-5 times/day and by including supplements will strengthen the immune system. 

6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract etc., and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc. 

7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs. 

8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size.However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction. 

9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications. 

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply. 
*CANCER CELLS FEED ON: 
a. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc. are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses, but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color . Better alternative is Bragg’s aminos or sea salt. 
b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus.. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk, cancer cells are being starved. 
c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer. 
d.. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).. 
e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer fighting properties. Water-best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it. 

12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines becomes putrefied and leads to more toxic buildup. 

13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells. 

14. Some supplements build up the immune system.

(IP6, Flor-essence , Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body’s own killer cells to destroy cancer cells.. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells. 
15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit.A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor.Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Be a forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.

16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

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Please share the above with those who can benefit.


Summer , Ice Apple / Thaati Munjalu / Palmyra fruit

Summer brings its own set of woes and sweet pleasures each year.

Rather than crib about the heat , one should enjoy the yummy stuff that nature provides during this season . Yes , its the fruits 🙂 .

Mangoes and Watermelons make a grand entry during the month of February and exit in June. These are the Summer months.

During Summer , in Hyderabad,  Jackfruit , Seema Chintakaaya / Jungle Jilebi , Figs and Palmyra fruit also make an entry. Unlike Mangoes and watermelons which are sold in almost every street corner , these are usually spotted only at the bigger farmer’s markets.

I make it a point to regularly visit the farmers markets , locally known as ‘Rythu bazaar’ , to get my fix 🙂

There was a time when the city dwellers could lay their hands on the Palmyra fruit when they visited their parents / grandparents who lived in villages and towns , far from the city. That’s where the Palmyra trees grow. These trees almost grow wild. They are hardy and don’t require any special care. I too would get to eat this Palmyra fruit when I visited my Grandparents village during peak summer.

There were times when I used to spot a hawker selling these in the city, but they would be the more mature ones which are hard ,rubbery and bland  instead of the tender , sweet and juicy ones. The hard ones  can upset the tummy.

This tender ,jelly like fruit has a cooling effect on the body , does some good for the digestive system and has several vitamins and minerals.

Since past few years I have been coming across vendors selling whole bunches of the fruit. We can pick the fruit of our choice and they would cut it for us. One can buy the whole fruit or get the pods removed.

These are whole bunches of the fruits.

This is how the fruit appears when the top part is carefully removed using a sharp sickle.

Each fruit has three pods.

The pods have a creamy brownish layer.

Remove the outer creamy brownish layer to reveal the translucent fleshy fruit.

Trying to remove the pods out of the fruit is tricky and not advisable as the fruit is easily bruised and the sweet juice is lost.

Hence it is preferable to  eat these directly from the whole fruit by using the thumb and digging into the tender juicy fruit .This is an art :))

This method ensures that the juice is intact.

I have fond memories of eating these sitting under the Palmyra trees in Granny’s village . We would reach the fields by 5pm, a guy nimbly glides up the tree along with a sickle and cuts off a few Bunches. They fall from a height of 15-20m with a thud.

He then expertly cuts them open revealing the white translucent fleshy pods.

Time to hold the fruit in the left hand and dig into the pulp using the thumb of the right hand and squeeze out the jelly along with the juice and quickly suck the juicy pulp with the mouth :)) . I know , it does sound gross :))

There is an easier method to dig into the tender fruit. Using a spoon to scoop out the pulp and the juice is quite simple and requires no mastery 🙂

Grab these if and when you come across them and enjoy the delicious fruit !!

 


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Multiple Myeloma, Symptoms

Multiple Myeloma is a condition when Plasma cells in the blood start misbehaving. These cells form antibodies , which fight infections. When these plasma cells undergo mutation in the DNA, they develop into antibodies which do not perform their job well and on top of that they do not die. They are supposed to die after doing their job well. This is called apoptosis. Every cell in the body dies after doing its job. When they don”t die and start accumulating in the blood  and inside the Bone marrow the condition is called Multiple Myeloma.

  • Low immunity
  • Anemia
  • Back pain
  • Pain in the feet and legs in general
  • Pain in the lower ribs and also just below the lowest part of the ribs on either side of the body
  • Feeling weak and lethargic
  • Always feeling sleepy or wanting to rest . Waking up early is difficult.
  • Suffering from frequent infections in the throat, stomach etc

These are the usual symptoms and were my symptoms as well , before I was detected with MM.

I always felt very weak. I would find it very difficult to wake up and get out of bed. I always wanted to sleep. I kept dragging myself to work . I was unable to stand for more than 10 minutes while I cooked. My feet would begin to ache and I had to sit down every 10 mins. I met several physicians in the last few decades. I also went for a complete health check up too. All of them recommended Iron supplements for my perennially low Hb count. I always took the course and felt good for a while and soon my symptoms were back. The cycle would repeat.

I frequently suffered from throat infections since I was a child and had to pop in a lot of antibiotics too. I also suffered from bronchitis as I am allergic to dust. This too could be due to low immunity. I kept telling my doctors that I frequently fall ill but none of them suggested any further investigations.

Many times I would be told to get a chest X-ray done as they suspected TB, but the result was always -ve.

I had also met an Ayurvedic doctor who checked my pulse . It is called ‘Nadi pariksha’. He prescribed a lot of medications too and said I was highly stressed and that I should do pranayama and meditate regularly.

My actual problem went undetected for decades.

I suffered a lot when I had my periods. They would always arrive early. Severe cramps ensured that I take a pain killer and was unable to go to work. I hated myself for being a girl :((

One day in 2011 , I slipped on the stairs and had an L5 compression fracture in my spine. My bones had become very weak. A normal healthy individual would not have been affected by that kind of a fall. Don’t know how and why the Orthopedic doctor did not suspect that something else could be wrong. He could have at least told me to get a test for calcium and Vitamin D done. I was told to use a cross shaped device for 3 months to heal my fracture.

Just after I recovered from my fracture , I collapsed and fell sick . I suffered from viral fever, throat and stomach infection simultaneously , started experiencing chills with fever in the evenings. A physician who had a clinic where we lived suggested I get blood transfusion as my Hb was 6 . We then decided to go to Apollo and get a second opinion. The Physician there suspected MM after a few preliminary tests.

A few tests like LFT, RFT and CBP can help in pointing towards MM.

A high ESR because of inflammation in the body. CBC Report gives the ESR value.

A high Serum Creatinine in RFT report.

Serum Globulin in LFT would also be beyond the limit.

Hb would also be low as per CBC report.

These are some of the parameters that can give away MM to a discerning physician.

Further tests including Bome marrow tests Electrophoresis will be done to confirm.

Thanks to Allopathy and Alternative treatments for giving me a second chance. I am actually living a healthier , productive and happier life after my Stem Cell Transplant followed by Ayurvedic treatment and proper diet.

So glad I got a second chance to tread this beautiful planet.

You too can !!

Have faith in the treatments and in yourself.